MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"There's no way you can single out any one aspect of the race (that will be the key to winning). You've got to handle well in order to win. You've got to be smart in the pits and pit as wisely as possibly and who know what that is. Maybe it's pitting with 75 laps to go or staying out. Maybe it's pitting with 30 laps to go. What's cool about a race is that everything changes as soon as a caution comes out. If you've got this great strategy and the caution comes out, you've got to rethink your strategy. If you were planning on a 300 lap race and the caution comes out on lap 75, then it's just a 225 lap race from there. So you're constantly on your toes - thinking about what to do and thinking about strategy. So you can't really have a solid plan other than maybe your plan would be to pit as soon as you could make it on gas. That's what some people have done lately and that's why track position is so important. So maybe you pit as soon as you can make it on gas and stay out the rest of the way. That's the only real decision to make. Are you going to go with that or not? So, the main thing, the most important thing, is to have a car that will handle."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
ON PIT STRATEGY: "If we get a late stop, there will probably be some guys who will try two tires or no tires and probably win the race doing it. It just depends. If the race comes down to a 70 or 60-lap run, it'll be decided on the race track. But if you have a caution with 40 or 30 laps to go, it'll be (decided) on race strategy."
ON THE TRACK "Right now it's all right. We've got a lot of racing left here today."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We basically started with out set-up we had here in July. It was pretty good. We just tried to make it a little bit better but ended up making it a little bit worse. We were just trying things, basically, during practice. We were pretty much ready after that first 15-lap run. It felt like it. But we're just trying to fine-tune it a little bit."
ON TRACK POSITION "Your track position creates race strategy or pit strategy. So, who does that the best and who gets the best fuel mileage and whether the cautions work out in your favor are the keys. You can sit there and plan a race, but if the cautions don't work out right, it's not going to work to your plan. Hopefully it'll work out in our favor."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Well, we've been working on getting the car to drive a little better. It's really weird. When you get one thing going - like say the entry to the corner - and that hurts the exit. So we've just been fine-tuning the car and trying to get the whole corner put together for us.
"In this last practice, we made some ground and hopefully we'll be in the right place for the race."
ON THE TRACK "The surface seems okay. It seems like there's a spot out there off of Turn 4 the sucks you up into the marbles. It's the same feeling that we had during Happy Hour when we were here last time. I'm not sure if it's just the marbles from the tires or if there's actually something going on. But I do know that if you get out of the racing groove, the marbles from the tires are so fine that you don't have a chance and you'll probably get in the outside wall. In this afternoon's race, they'll put down a different rubber; and the more laps the better on the surface. It'll start to give us an indication if anything is going to happen with the surface. So that'll be a good thing."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We didn't get to pick the pit we wanted, where I was kind of on my own little island by myself before - the last two times here - but we didn't get that spot this time. So I'm a little disappointed about that. We're right after the opening coming in. But the important thing we've learned over the last few races is it's just not the pit. When you pit, it's just too hard to pass. The field is so competitive right now that track position is worth more than that two-tenths of a second a lap that the tires give you. So what we've learned is not to pit and I think everybody (else) has learned that."
ON WINNING AT LOUDON LAST NOVEMBER "We were strong at the July race here too. We finished seventh. I think it's going to be a good weekend for us. I think the confidence and the momentum helps. It seems like all three (RCR) cars are all hanging in there. It's going to be good for us."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLT MONTE CARLO
Note: In observance of the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the traditional GM Goodwrench paint scheme has been with the American stars and stripes for the New Hampshire 300. The absence of GM Goodwrench logos is consistent with GM's decision not to run any advertising on Sept. 11. The traditional paint scheme returns next weekend in Dover.
ON THE TRACK "The track is going to come up and it's going to be all about pit strategy and track position. It's fine right now but it just keeps getting slower and slower. We had a good practice this morning but we just got a bad set of tires at the beginning of the second practice and just got it back to where we needed to be."
GREG BIFFLE, NO. 55 SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The practice has been really good. Our first practice wasn't quite as good as what we expected, but the guys have worked really hard on the car in between practices and changed a lot of stuff and it turned out a lot better for the second practice.
"So we're really happy with it -especially qualifying up front and starting fourth. I can't say enough about how hard they've worked to get the car where it needs to be and mount my seat in it and change the nose on it and a bunch of stuff to even bring it up here. But I'm really happy with the car and excited about the race tomorrow. I think I can stay up in the top 10 now. In the first practice, I was a little worried about it. But the car has really come back to life. So I'm pretty happy.
"Track position is going to be critical. These cars are real aero-sensitive. When you get behind cars it's hard to pass. I got behind Mark Martin in practice and could hardly keep up with him. And then he moved over and just let me go and I was three-tenths of a second faster. It's really hard to pass so track position is going to be important."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Considering what I've been through this week, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm a little short on energy. It's like when you're trying to shake the flu. You get up in the morning and you feel fine, but you run out of energy real quick. I think I'll be stronger by (Sunday)."
HOW IS THE CAR? "Right now it's not very good. It seems when we take the tape off it (from qualifying) and put it in race trim, we lose something. I'm not sure I understand that. But we're going to put our heads together and figure something out. We've got our Fridays (qualifying) going pretty good. Now we need to take that to Sundays. If we raced them two laps at a time, we'd kick their asses.
WILL YOU NEED A RELIEF DRIVER? "I'm not going to give up. I think I'll be fine in the car. I'm going to get a lot of rest (Saturday night) and that should help. Right now the plan is for me to drive it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I think we're pretty good. We just worked a lot on a lot of different combinations. It's kind of hard to guess because the last time we were here we had a really good car, but then the track came apart and the whole set-up needed a change. So we're trying to get a combination of getting the car where we can run the bottom if something happens and also to where I can run the track where I'd like to. We were a lot better than we were in qualifying."
ON PASSING DURING THE RACE "It's going to be so bad. You cannot pass at all. I know the efforts are there to try to create passing, but you're going to have a lot of guys getting frustrated and moving guys out of the way to get past them. That's a very frustrating thing for the drivers to know that the only way you can pass or get passed is by somebody just putting the bumper and moving you."
ON BEING PATIENT DURING THE RACE TO ULTIMATELY GAIN POINTS "It's a catch 22. If you're patient or too patient, guys are going to move you out of the way and you're going to get knocked back. If you're too aggressive, you take the risk of making somebody mad or messing your car up. Every lap, you're just going to have to play it by ear. When a hole opens up, you've got to take advantage of it. If you can get around some guys where you can ride for a little while, you need to just ride."
-team monte carlo-